Link To Guest Website:

Title: “In-Home Diabetes Diagnostics and Virtual Health Help For Patients”
Guest: Dr. Jon Bloom – Podimetrics
Interviewer: Jeffrey Davis – MAGE LLC

Click here to read the transcript

Jeffrey (1s):
Well, hello everyone. And welcome back to Radio Entrepreneurs. The show that’s constantly streaming stories about entrepreneurship and how people are dealing with the economy. You know, why read a book when you can get stuff real time? Not that you shouldn’t read a book, I read lots of books, but this is, this is real, real time entrepreneurship every day on radio entrepreneurs and our next guest, pretty excited Dr. Jonathan Bloom, CEO co-founder Podimetrics. Is that correct? Podimetrics.

Jonathan (31s):
Podimetrics pretty, pretty close. That’s exactly right.

Jeffrey (34s):
Well, you know, I figured you were out there to challenge me, Jonathan. So, you know, we got a little bit into the topic before we started, but I know I’m not an expert yet. Tell us about Podimetrics.

Jonathan (45s):
Yeah. So, you know, the big, the big, well, first of all, we’re a virtual care support company dedicated to eliminating diabetic amputation. It’s this complications you can get. If you’ve had diabetes for some time, that’s been difficult to manage, right? You with an amputation and you lose your mobility, lose many times your independence. It has a five-year mortality higher than most cancers. It’s a, it’s a devastating complication, and yet they really shouldn’t happen at all. And now we can detect them early. What we do is we have two major parts to what we do. One is an in-home smart mat that a patient just stands on for 20 seconds a day.

Jonathan (1m 29s):
And then they can go on with the rest of their life and what they want to do. But in that 22nd interaction, we get basically temperature scans of the feet that can be sent to us in a, in a wire, basically, you know, they don’t need wifi. They don’t need a smartphone that the mat broadcast directly to our system in a, in a secure fashion. And then we can use machine learning to try to find problems before they occur. And the second part, then as a nursing team, my care support team that can look at these data and then partner with the patient’s clinician to make sure that we can then begin preventative care early, as opposed to waiting for the complication to hit. And, and now you’re, you would, you know, my former life you’d see me in the operating room and we’re moving now towards an operative pathway.

Jonathan (2m 15s):
It’s been an exciting thing to do. We started about 10 years ago while we were then grad students at MIT. And it’s amazing to see what’s happened since

Jeffrey (2m 25s):
Again, I’m very familiar with diabetes. I told you that offline, my mother, I was born to a very extreme diabetic mother, much juror struggled with that, her whole life in many ways, but most of our listeners, I would assume don’t understand diabetes. And so why don’t you explain a little bit more about the kind of complications that diabetics have always lived under with their feet? I said with my mother, with her hands and why this is such a great thing for them.

Jonathan (2m 55s):
Well, it, diabetes is a number of things than, and it affects almost probably every cell in your body. You know, it starts to cause a degradation of your blood vessels atherosclerosis. So you get, you know, you don’t have that same blood flow to the extremities, high sugar. If it’s not managed, you know, optimally, it’s like, it, it, if you get an infection, right, it’s like almost like a Petri dish, right? It’s hard to, you know, with all that sugar media, it’s hard to, to, to manage it that way I, sugar is toxic to the nerves throughout your body. So you start to hear things like neuropathy, where your nerves, you can’t feel pain.

Jonathan (3m 35s):
And all of this creates this sort of perfect storm where you might get a little bit of tissue damage. Your alarm system is off. You don’t realize that’s happening. You don’t change it. The behavior you’re not changing your shoes or whatever it is, that’s driving that. And that causes tissue breakdown. And because of that high sheer, again, easy to get infected and those infections and costings things like gangrene can cause a number of problems that again, might lead you to need a, a surgical intervention. So it’s, it’s systemic and they don’t have to happen. Surprisingly, there was one study that linked a third of the cost of diabetes as a whole, the complications of the lower extremity. It’s this probably not very well recognized part of it. And yet it’s a dominant part on our costs for diabetes in the United States.

Jonathan (4m 19s):
And certainly if you’re a patient, it can dominate. It can dominate that patient’s life when we don’t, we don’t want that.

Jeffrey (4m 26s):
Jonathan, how long have you been in business? And what stage of let’s say is the organization

Jonathan (4m 32s):
Today? So we’ve been up for almost 10 years. Our birthday will be in October of this year. We started actually at a hackathon at MIT is just so weekend events where we’re, you know, you put a bunch of people in the room and you can start any company you wanted. This is just the one that we obsessed over and, and built from there. And now we’re, we’re on market where we’re scaling across the country. It’s been, it’s been, it’s like imagine 10 years is a long time to get a lot of good highs and lows and valleys and Hills. And, but thankfully we have wonderful data coming out and showing our how well we work, which would be delighted to tell you about, and it’s just exciting now to see what it looks like when you prevent this from occurring.

Jeffrey (5m 14s):
Are you, how are you selling this product? Are you directory? You’re working through other organizations?

Jonathan (5m 20s):
No, we sell direct. We sell it through usually to payers or anyone who, who pays for the care of healthcare. And, you know, we, we do everything directly. We don’t need a third party or another one to help us.

Jeffrey (5m 35s):
Yeah. They sell directly. Do you have a Salesforce? You’ve, you’ve built.

Jonathan (5m 38s):
We do. We do. I, I like that purchase because it allows you. We actually, we call them services directors, our sales team, the, the team that helps onboard patients. A lot of it’s just working with clinicians to make sure that they have all the data that they need and the ability to control that a quality of that care and the interaction that was an important part for us. And I will continue that model properly indefinitely.

Jeffrey (6m 5s):
I’m a big supporter of that. I’m a, I’m an ex Ethicon sutures sales person in the, in another life many, many decades ago. So at the con being the surgical wound closure division of J and J so

Jonathan (6m 21s):
Of in my past, yeah.

Jeffrey (6m 24s):
Aye, aye, aye. And I like to think I’ve sold a lot of Ethicon. Didn’t have to sell it. It sold itself. And I would assume that if you’re building the right product, it’s selling itself also,

Jonathan (6m 36s):
It’s been great actually. So driving, I think the key to cells, especially when you’re working with payers who are conservative, is it’s clinical data, you know, peer reviewed clinical data that their medical leadership can look at and make sure that it’s a smart decision and their financial leaders can ensure that it actually helps save dollars, not increased costs and probably our most exciting or exciting study in a repository I can motor on pages are probably most exciting. Study came out late last year, I was with Kaiser Permanente and we showed that we were able to drop all hospitalizations for our patient by 52%, all ER visits by 40%, all outpatient visits by 27%, we reduced or eliminated roughly three out of four amputations from occurring.

Jonathan (7m 22s):
And we completely eliminated in this high risk cohort, major amputation, which means loss of limb that creates quite a savings. So with that, now we not only is it good for the patients, it’s a, you know, a fiscally responsible system put into place, especially when payers can pay upwards of, you know, two to three to $4 billion each year on complications of the foot due to diabetes.

Jeffrey (7m 46s):
I I’m a hundred percent on board with you because as I said, I I’ve lived through it and watched it myself firsthand is recruiting hard for you. And especially during these times,

Jonathan (8m 0s):
It hasn’t been, no, it has it. It’s interesting with COVID. We saw some companies, it was unpredictable, right? Some companies were hurting in that environment. Some companies found that that was their best time to shine. And we were in that ladder. Here’s a time when our clinics or hospitals were, or more or less shutting down and still like for social distancing though, throughputs are really low. And our patients have very complex patient who often was getting their primary care in the ER. And now they they’re afraid to leave the home and they’re not getting their preventative visits that are critical. They have to get the preventative care to keep them out of, you know, acute exacerbations of their heart, their lungs.

Jonathan (8m 41s):
And of course they’re beaten diabetes. So with that need, with the virtual care, gosh, we were there ready to roll. And it was a wonderful time to see our mission at work. And when you see mission at works, that’s wonderful for adding on to team. You know, I, when the most important thing is, why are we here? We’re here to eliminate diabetic amputations. They should not happen anymore. No one should lose a limb to diabetes. And I think that that’s, that has resonated unfortunately with, with a lot of people. And if that is something that’s been excited, of course, feel free to ping in. And we have an opportunity to, to, to end this terrible complication. It’s been an exciting time to recruit and to get, to see our efficacy at work, to see it in, in homes across the country.

Jonathan (9m 27s):
So tell

Jeffrey (9m 27s):
Me about the culture that you’re trying to build.

Jonathan (9m 31s):
Well, culture is, is, is probably one of the most important aspects of any like, like it’s the feeling that you have while you’re there. It’s the, it’s the it’s funny. I remember a great quote. I think it was Ben Horowitz who said that, you know, 10, 20 years from now, you won’t remember the, that new feature. You roll out. You won’t remember the, that, that crazy piece of R and D or some great sale moment. You’re gonna remember how it felt to be in that company. That will be the part that lasts. And for us that we take that very seriously. So big things, you know, people first team first, you know, we can’t take good care of our patients. We don’t take care of our team. We can’t take care of our health plans, our customers, our stockholders, less, all those people are taken care of.

Jonathan (10m 14s):
So people first, that’s a very, very important part, how we handle. And we want to be able to have a culture where you can, you can say your concerns is a very, you know, you can lean in on conversations and yet after a good spirit of conversation that shouldn’t affect in any way, like your future of this company. In fact, we want more of you to feel comfortable, to lean in and have good conversations. And to do that, you have to create a culture of respect. You want to make one of those famous phrases. No, no. A-holes he has made, you know, that’s, that’s an important part to have a great culture. You got to have people who embrace that idea of respect and to be able to have candid conversations who take care of people who are this natural with, you know, not just empathy, but this, this, if you hear hurting you, you want to take, you want to help them.

Jonathan (11m 3s):
And a way we’ve been able to shape that. As in the hiring process, we’re really looking for people who embody our values, every value gets scored, and we’re looking for people who have those same, the same things are important to them. And that’s been a wonderful way to continue to, to shape her culture. And it keeps evolving just for the better, which has been wonderful.

Jeffrey (11m 22s):
Jonathan, I have a lot of respect for what you’re doing, and I always believe that culture is the most important thing. I see it over and over again. And every company culture does beat strategy, but you’re lucky you have culture and strategy, and that’s pretty cool. And, and you’re doing something that’s good for a, you know, good for a lot of people. And the economy Jonathan is looking for you and the company, how would they find you?

Jonathan (11m 48s):
It probably is way as a, what a you know, we’re, we’re hiring Ryan quite a bit. So if ever an interest, it’s a wonderful place to go there. And yeah, I would love to engage.

Jeffrey (11m 59s):
Great, Jonathan, exciting to talk to you, and I hope you would grace us by coming back again and giving us updates on the company and the product.

Jonathan (12m 8s):
Wouldn’t be thrilled. Thank you so much for your time today. Really?

Jeffrey (12m 12s):
No, you actually made my morning. So that’s the best I wish I could call my mother and tell her what you had. I wish I could actually buy the product and give it to her, but she’d been gone for a long time now, but

Jonathan (12m 26s):
With the technology being available, like much of that, that, that the hurt that’s there. We, it doesn’t have to happen to them.

Jeffrey (12m 32s):
Yeah. I remember when she got her talking scale, that was such a big deal, time to think technology has evolved. So that’s great. Again, everybody we’ve been speaking with Jonathan Bloom, CEO and co-founder of Podimetrics, and my name is Jeffrey Davis. This is Radio Entrepreneurs. We’ll be back with more stories.

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